Many of you have asked for us to share our interviews with top executives at the various security system companies that we review. We are excited to launch this series with LifeShield Security!
This month we feature a Lifeshield Security interview with the CEO and Founder, Louis Stilp. We will continue to profile various companies in this new program to bring you details “straight from the horses mouth”, so to speak so that you can see what makes them tick, why they are making the decisions they are making for you, the consumer, and what keeps them up at night – mostly YOUR safety.
Who is LifeShield Security?
LifeShield Security was the first all digital home security system. Founded as InGrid Home Security in 2004, Life Shield offers a professionally monitored wireless security system that allows an easy, ‘plug and protect’ installation process in addition to one of the best values in complete home security.
Lifeshield Security Interview with Louis A. Stilp, CEO and Founder
We interviewed Mr. Louis Stilp in early November 2012 and here is some background on him and the company before we jump into the actual Q and A session:
In 2004, Louis Stilp founded LifeShield, Inc. (formerly InGrid, Inc.). Mr. Stilp has raised over $100 million in private capital for wireless technology pursuits through the years. Since the start of LifeShield Security, Stilp has led company efforts to create and distribute the latest technology in digital security services and products.
Prior to founding LifeShield, Mr. Stilp founded TruePosition, the first and largest company in the wireless location market (used to locate cellular phones for E911 and commercial use). TruePosition’s products are deployed in over 100,000 cell sites for carriers including AT&T and T-Mobile, covering 270 million+ people and locating the majority of the 100 million wireless 911 calls made each year. In 2000, TruePosition was bought by Liberty Media Corp. Prior to forming TruePosition, Stilp held various executive positions for many Cellular One markets. Stilp is the sole and joint inventor of 47 U.S. patents (27 at TruePosition and 20 at Life Shield).
Mr. Stilp’s educational background includes a BSEE from Drexel University and an MBA from the Wharton School (University of Pennsylvania).
1. Can you provide some background on why and how LifeShield got started? Were you the company’s founders?
Yes, I am the founder of Life Shield Security. The company was started with the idea of providing internet connected security systems.
Advantages of Internet Connected
- Faster response time to monitoring center,
- Remote access for customers,
- Text/email messages when anything happens in the home.
We started doing this when almost all security systems were phone-line only with no remote access. We were one of the first companies to provide mobile access via browsers on the cell phone. Now, of course, many companies have apps for smart phones but Life Shield Security has one of the best apps. We are literally one of the very few that provide customers total control of their system from the mobile app.
Four Layers of Home Protection
We have four layers of protection not just one like our competitors (with most wireless systems a consumer chooses one source as primary with battery back up. i.e. they have system connected to the internet with battery backup but we have all three available with battery back up) thus, it is virtually impossible to disarm. We have phone, internet, cellular and battery back up with all our packages. Then cell can be added on as well. We have interrupted signal because we own the hardware and software so our consumers are notified immediately if any service interruption has occurred. Delays and other interruptions can occur with other systems who are mere resellers of other systems.
A Better Way to Monitor Fires
LifeShield also invented a better way to monitor homes for fire. Fire safety solutions from every other house alarm company are expensive, because they involve replacing all of existing smoke detectors. Our patented invention is called a Siren Detector. It is a sensor that monitors your *existing smoke detectors*. For most homeowners, the *existing smoke detectors* are already wired together, so they all sound the siren if any of them detect smoke. The Siren Detector picks up the siren sound from any of the existing smoke detectors. This device alone saves users a great deal of money when compared to other alarm systems. We actually dispatch the fire department vs. “make noise” This is also included in every system we offer.
2. What geographic location(s) does LifeShield serve?
LifeShield has customers in all 50 states. Our main office is in Langhorne, PA, just north of Philadelphia. Our customers are monitored by Protection1. They have five monitoring centers and are the 2nd largest security company. Most of our customers self-install as it is a plug & play technology. This makes it very simple to install and setup. However, LifeShield offers professional installation services in most major metro areas and is expanding its footprint everyday for an additional fee.
3. What do you feel has been the biggest change in the industry since the company was founded?
The move to interactive systems. While Life Shield provides interactive (remote access, text messages, etc.) via internet and cellular, there are several companies providing similar services over cellular only. These cellular-only solutions cost more money, but they are popular nonetheless. When the company started, interactive was negligible. Now, probably 10-15% of alarm systems have interactive, and interactive is now heavily promoted. Besides LifeShield Security, you see ADT Pulse, Xfinity Home Security, and others. Interactive is leading to a lot of upgrades, and driving change in the industry.
Some might say that the door knocking companies are transforming the industry, and they are. But they are able to do so because of interactive security. They knock on doors, show customers how a new interactive system is better than their old system, and that leads to an upgrade sale.
4. Thinking of your consumers, what home security concerns keep you up at night?
My biggest concern is the focus on price, which leads to customers buying systems that won’t protect them. If customers are in the market for security, they should buy a good system that is hard to defeat. Instead, too many customers want a free system. Many free systems are all-in-one systems that can be defeated by a burglar in literally 5 seconds. Burglars don’t worry about user codes, they just pop open the system and cut the wires. No alarm, no call to the monitoring center.
Life Shield builds high quality products that really protect our customers. Our systems have layers of protection so that burglars have a very hard time defeating the system. We think the whole point is to send a signal to the monitoring center when a break-in happens. Free systems that are dead in 5 seconds can’t do what we do. Further, LifeShield Security systems include the great fire solution discussed above, the Siren Detector. We are, apples-to-apples, the BEST VALUE in the industry.
Unfortunately, the biggest noise is our industry is free, free, free. Consumers should want protection, protection, protection. I hate to see so many consumers believing they are protected, when they really are not.
5. How have the increases in mobility, home automation and technology among homeowners changed the landscape of LifeShield’s home security offering?
LifeShield’s whole business is about internet connected and interactive security. We’ve never sold a phone-line-system. Therefore, we think we’re one of the company driving the changing landscape, not reacting to it. In the last 2 years, we have invested a lot of money in both mobile apps and cameras. They are the areas of greatest demand. We are now in the process of adding home automation to our product line. We appreciate that a few others rolled out home automation first so we can learn from the issues. Now we’re prepared to push home automation in a big way in the coming year. We think our timing is perfect on this roll out. We are planning for the NEXT DECADE and we believe INNOVATION is key. This is why we are focused on technology and value to truly protect consumers.
6. What about your company’s offering makes you stand out from your competitors?
We differentiate in several ways:
- Better protection to the consumer with systems that are hard to defeat;
- Better fire protection with the Siren Detector;
- Better mobile apps that provide more user control;
- Better value proposition. Because we sell direct, and not through middlemen, we can provide a great value. Dollar for dollar, LifeShield Security provides more services than anyone;
- Five monitoring centers, so weather or other disasters are never a factor;
- Great service to our customers.
7. The home security industry has become a high-tech, dynamic world to operate in. What new and exciting things can we expect to see over the next decade from the industry and LifeShield?
We are currently working on its 2013 portfolio of products, which incorporate a lot of new ideas. I already mentioned home automation above.
Some other things are too early to talk about and we want to make a splash when they are ready to ship. However, at a high level, what we see is bringing technology from the commercial world into homes. There is a lot of cool stuff in business security that has been too expensive for the home. But changes in the cost of technology (over the last several years and the coming years) will make it affordable for homeowners to have the same high-tech capabilities for their homes as they see in businesses today. We view the home security system as a platform (like the PC was a platform) which can be used for many different features and functions. That’s what we’re working on – innovation.
8. Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Anyone reading your website is serious about security for their family. I strongly encourage them to research the products before buying and don’t just focus on “free” offers. Products are not the same, and a lot of free systems really can be defeated by a burglar (or me, or you) in just a few seconds. Why pay all those monthly fees when the system won’t work at the moment you need it most. Most consumers wouldn’t take a free car if they couldn’t count on it to get them places reliably. They should take the same consideration when choosing their home security system. LifeShield Security really is designed better and provides better protection. And we provide this protection at a great value because we sell direct.